A/C Clutch Cycling - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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A/C Clutch Cycling

I've already gone thru the troublshooting flow chart and replaced a defective cycling switch,now the clutch cycles every 15 seconds or so. Can someone point me in the right direction for my next move? Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 02:47 PM
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First thing I'd do is check pressure on the low and high side. It may be low on refrigerant. I'm assuming you have an R134a system (94+)?

The only way to be sure the charge level is correct is to use a gauge set that shows high and low side pressures. The low side will be between ~25 and 40 PSI to maintain cold but above-freezing temperatures. The high side is the indicator of overall system charge level. Use the chart below for the acceptable ranges, relative to ambient temps, to determine if you are in fact low on refrigerant:

If the readings are off or don't seem right, there are other possibilities (e.g. a clogged orifice tube).
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 07:23 AM
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Sounds low on Freon. When my 97 was low it drove me crazy - the car constantly bogging every time the clutch kicked on. Going up a hill at low speeds was not fun.

You'll have to take it to a shop to have them diagnose it unless you have all the equipment.

Al
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T6Rocket View Post
Sounds low on Freon. When my 97 was low it drove me crazy - the car constantly bogging every time the clutch kicked on. Going up a hill at low speeds was not fun.
Couple things with that statement I want to point out (will I get in trouble if I do? )... first (being nitpicky), Freon is the DuPont trademark for R12. R134a has no brand or trademarked name. Second... if your car bogged down every time the clutch cycled, there was something else going on with it. Yeah, you'll notice when the clutch cycles if you're in tune with the car (vibrations, feel, power levels)... but if it was bogging down every time the clutch engaged there was something else wrong with it. Even when my old 3.8 Cougar was low on refrigerant it could negotiate hills at 35 or 36 MPH in 4th gear with the clutch cycling.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 161k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
98 Black Mark VIII 155k, stock daily driver
07 Redfire Fusion V6 SEL 178k, for the wife
Gone but not forgotten: 96 Mark VIII, 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 05:27 PM
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If it's bogging the engine, I'd listen for the belt to start squeaking; if it does, the compressor is toast.

If the compressor stalls, it either slips the belt or kills the engine.

I have the "stuck compressor problem" on the tbird.

I pulled the pressure switch connector off so I can run the defrost.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 07:47 PM
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When the original compressor on the T-bird seized up, it actually smoked the clutch and roasted the bearings. I was on the highway coming home from visiting the wife (then GF) at undergrad, in the rain, at 2AM, when I saw sparks flying from under the car in the rearview mirror.

Edit: here it is. I typed the first post on my dad's account - he took it from there. https://forums.tccoa.com/6-general-t...e-driving.html

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 161k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
98 Black Mark VIII 155k, stock daily driver
07 Redfire Fusion V6 SEL 178k, for the wife
Gone but not forgotten: 96 Mark VIII, 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 08:03 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

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The first time I hit the defrost in the Tbird, the front belt started smoking and squealing; scared the crap out of me, lol.

I opened the hood and unplugged the pressure sensor, no more problem, lol.

I needed defrost bad.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


"War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength." - George Orwell.
Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 08:11 PM
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Funnily enough, the previous owner of the car (weird to say, now having owned it for 15 years) hotwired the system so the compressor would always be engaged. He disconnected the cycling switch and stuck a paper clip into the connector - probably because it was low on refrigerant (and oil!). So on that trip home... I had the defrost going and after an hour of running with insufficient oil it must have just... overheated and seized up. I can say though, rebuilding the system after that was a great learning experience - haven't had to touch the system in any way since I did that. Wow, that was like 10 years ago.
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97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 161k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
98 Black Mark VIII 155k, stock daily driver
07 Redfire Fusion V6 SEL 178k, for the wife
Gone but not forgotten: 96 Mark VIII, 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 08:23 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

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The Tbird is a 97, so the system is completely different than the 96's, and not available.

I'm seriously considered putting the compressor I took off the Red Cougar on it, but I'm sure the system is full of garbage.

I'll eventually rebuild it, but not soon. Tennessee isn't hot enough to absolutely have to have AC.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


"War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength." - George Orwell.
Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 09:13 PM
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Yah, a full rebuild and they're ice cold.

That's one of the things that pissed me off about the motor dying in Ruby; to redo it, I get to drain the system and rebuild it. Again.

RwP

Fuelly
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theterminator93 View Post
... if your car bogged down every time the clutch cycled, there was something else going on with it.
I was merely pointing out that the small drag you get when the A/C kicks on at low speeds climbing a hill (and you know what I'm talking about), was far more noticeable when it cycled constantly from being low on R134a. I know its slow around here and all but jeez......

Al

97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years, 206k miles
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Well,this thread went off the rails. But,I do thank those who offered help.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 11:38 AM
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I usually bring my cars to either of the two a/c shops near where I live that I trust. But when my 95 was doing that (cycling too frequently) and not cooling good enough a couple months ago I added a can of refrigerant that I had on hand, works fine now. You sound like a DIY type of person, so investing in pressure testing equipment to assist with the diagnostics is your best long term solution.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks,Jim. My only manifold gauge set is for R-12,so I looked for a set of fitting adapters,but they cost more than a whole new R134a setup.
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